How to Help Remote Workers Feel Connected in your Small Business

If your organization relies on remote workers, follow these tips to help improve a sense of connectivity between your on-site and remote team members.

Author: Anonym/Sunday, March 15, 2020/Categories: Unified Communications

As technological innovations are changing the way businesses operate, they are also changing the way employees work. Gone are the days when workers had to be physically present in the company’s office to tackle their responsibilities; more and more companies are embracing remote work arrangements. In fact, an estimated 4.3 million people in the U.S. work remotely at least half of the time, an increase of 140 percent over the number of remote workers in 2005.

Remote work arrangements can benefit employers and employees alike. For employers, office “real estate” costs go down while the company lays the groundwork for a larger “footprint.” Employees who work remotely save time and money by not having to commute for their jobs, making it easier to balance work and family responsibilities. This, in turn, can lead to happier, more engaged workers.

However, when employees are not physically present on-site, they can feel disconnected. If not addressed, this could lead to dissatisfaction with the job and company, decreased productivity, and lower morale. Following these tips can help you forge a greater sense of connectivity between your on-site and remote workers:

1. Implement structured policies, goals, and resources for remote workers.

Whether you have one remote worker or dozens of them, setting expectations is key. One way to do this is by creating and implementing policies and procedures for your entire workforce that establish and define expectations.

Define working hours and/or productivity targets generally in your policies, but also specifically with each remote worker. Be mindful of the reality that some remote employees feel they need to work longer hours to make up for not being physically present in the office; setting clear expectations up front can help limit this tendency.

Using a centralized knowledge base for all staff can also help remote workers feel more like part of the team. When everyone uses the same resource for company policies and information, and employees know where to go to find answers, the “silo” effect that can occur with remote workers is lessened.

2. Encourage — and facilitate — connections.

Both managers and on-site employee colleagues can be integral in building and fostering connectivity with remote workers. There are a variety of ways to do this, including everything from traditional phone calls and email messages to using video conferencing and team collaboration tools, apps, and mobility solutions.

One solution many organizations are leveraging is ProConnect with UC-ONE. This tool integrates HD audio and video, conferencing capabilities, messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, and more. Users can use the solution effectively on their computers, tablets, and smartphones, putting all workers on a level playing field and enhancing mobility, collaboration and business productivity.

The important thing is that your remote workers don’t fall prey to an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” mindset by those in the office. Be deliberate about including all workers in meetings, retreats, and communications. Doing so should foster a sense of belonging and give remote workers more of a feeling of inclusion.

3. Maintaining communication is critical.

When you are managing remote workers, being able to communicate effectively can go a long way in helping them feel like they are truly part of the team.

Do your best to be available for remote staffers, just as you would be for on-site workers. While you cannot stop by their desks to visit during the workday, you can use technology to check in with them periodically just for the sake of checking in. If important information is shared verbally in the office, do your best to pass that on to your remote team members promptly. And, of course, when sending out team-facing messages, be sure to include all employees.

You can also help them feel more connected by recognizing your remote workers’ successes and celebrating milestones with them virtually. Finally, deliver periodic feedback and coaching as needed, reminding remote employees — and your on-site workers — that they are all valuable members of the team.

4. Creating and Fostering Greater Connectivity Should Boost Productivity and Morale

When you approach remote work arrangements proactively and implement policies and communications strategies with all of your workers in mind, you are taking steps that can build a stronger, more cohesive, and more engaged workforce. In doing so, you should also benefit from an improved customer experience, both for your internal and external customers.

At Consolidated Communications, we understand both the challenges and the benefits that can come with having a staff that is either fully or partially made up of remote employees. We are proud to offer a variety of communications and connectivity tools designed to help your business thrive and succeed. Ready to learn more about how CCI can help power your organization? Contact us today to learn more!

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